We tend to take tabloid stories with a big, whopping grain of salt, so when TMZ reported that New Balance plans to take legal action against Karl Lagerfeld for producing a sneaker similar to one of its styles, we were skeptical. But we need not have been.
"On June 3, 2014, New Balance filed a lawsuit against Karl Lagerfeld to protect our intellectual property rights related to our iconic lifestyle footwear designs," said Amy Dow, a New Balance spokeswoman, in an e-mail this morning. "Although we cannot comment on the specifics of the case, we believe it is vital to actively and vigorously defend our brand."
There's no doubt Camp Lagerfeld is preparing to defend its right to produce a version of these shoes, which bear more than a passing resemblance to a number of New Balance styles. In the suit, New Balance points out that the similarity between Karl Lagerfeld's "K" logo and its own "N" logo creates confusion among consumers. New Balance also noted that it's been making this style since the 1970s and even highlights a blog post about the shoes entitled "Wait, Did Karl Lagerfeld Just Knock Off New Balance Sneakers?"
Trademark-infringement cases in fashion are nothing new. Just two years ago, Guess and Gucci had their own courtroom battle over which brand had the right to put red-and-green-striped ribbon on accessories. Gucci came out on top, but there's no telling yet who'll win in the case of the similar sneakers.
—Details associate online style editor Justin Fenner